With Cannes Lions fast approaching, Cannes Media Lions President and PHD’s Worldwide CEO, Philippa Brown shares her personal experience on finding inspiration over the last 12 months. 

A lot happened to creativity over the past year – both as a concept and as an industry.

Creativity has always famously spilt over, if not flooded, the idea of the 9-5 working day. Yet, even the most unpredictable of schedules were turned upside down in 2020 and 2021, as we found ourselves locked down in our homes.

Remote working became a necessity rather than a luxury, time zones collided, and what we considered work, play, or chore became entirely inseparable over the course of the pandemic.

So, how has Philippa Brown transformed, adapted and survived during COVID-19 to remain creative?

I’ve heard many people quote Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

And you know what? It’s so true.

Whilst the pandemic and lockdown have impacted teams’ spontaneous creative thinking, it has allowed for different ways to generate ideas and created a breeding ground for creativity.

From my personal experience, there are three things I am now doing differently:

Firstly, I’m walking so much more than I ever did and I love it! I walk everywhere and for long periods. When I’m walking, it gives me white space to think and is often when I generate my best ideas. Things around me inspire me, and on many occasions, I’ve come home and scribbled down my thoughts.

Secondly, I’ve been dreaming lots more than I ever recall. I now keep a notepad by my bed, and the next morning, I wake up and read my scribbles. There’s often some of my most creative and best thoughts within those scribbles!

And finally, learning from my kids who help me creatively. They’ve really inspired me and have generated lots of creative ideas. I can now say I know everything there is to know about TikTok and what’s ‘cool’ to teenagers these days. Spending so much time with them and sitting down to dinner as a family every day has been great personally, but also for work – they’ve become my daily research group!